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Tuesday, 6 March 1973
Page: 202

Mr MULDER (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Minister for Immigration investigate the delays of up to 12 months which occur in the issuing of tourist visas? Is the Minister aware that these delays cause great hardships and resentment, particularly as they affect parents and grandparents of Australian families who merely wish to come to our country for a visit?

Mr GRASSBY - I share the honourable member's concern at the delays to which he has referred. In fact, only last Friday I received, from a European country, a telephone call which indicated that a grandmother, who was aged 97, died while awaiting approval to visit Australia to see her grandchildren. She had been trying to come for some half a year. The rules governing the issue of visas to members of families in the past have caused continuing hardship. I am pleased to advise the honourable members that these rules have been changed and where there is a desire for a visit by a member of the family, particularly parents and grandparents who want to come to see their children or their grandchildren in Australia, the application will be dealt with not in 6 months or 9 months but in a matter of delays - I mean in a matter of days. As you can see from my slip of the tongue, Mr Speaker, I am almost stuck with the procedures of the past, but I am trying to change them as rapidly as I can. This has been a matter of concern for a very long time. I am happy to say that the procedures have been changed and that the sorts of incidents which have occurred in the past will not occur in the future.

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